Your vehicle’s thermostat plays a critical role in regulating its engine temperature. When your vehicle isn’t running and the engine is cool, the thermostat remains closed. But when the engine reaches operating temperature, the thermostat is supposed to open up and allow coolant to flow into and out of the radiator.


If the thermostat isn’t working properly, your engine may get dangerously hot or conversely, never reach an appropriate operating temperature, both of which cause performance issues. Since all thermostats require periodic replacement, you’ll likely notice one or more of the symptoms below if yours is failing or already bad.


Erratic Engine Temperature Fluctuations

If your thermostat is stuck closed or just isn’t functioning properly, you may notice the temperature gauge on your dash moves up and down erratically. It might get extremely high and suddenly decrease to a normal level, it may even drop down to an abnormally low temperature.


Even if it appears that the temperature gauge stays around the central point for some time after it gets super high or very low, erratic fluctuations are still cause for concern. Take your vehicle to an auto mechanic who can test the thermostat and other components of your cooling system to diagnose the problem.


High Temperature Gauge Reading

If your thermostat is stuck shut, you may notice your vehicle’s temperature gauge moves into the red area within the first few minutes after you start the engine. This is the most common sign of a faulty thermostat. If you notice this, you need to take your car or truck to an auto repair shop for diagnostic testing right away.


A thermostat that won’t open can cause your engine to reach dangerously high temperatures. If you don’t have the part replaced, it can cause severe damage that necessitates expensive engine repairs.


Coolant Leaks

When your thermostat is stuck shut, it may not allow coolant to flow through the system properly, which can result in leaks around the thermostat housing. If you catch the problem early on, you’ll likely notice coolant around the thermostat. However, if the leak goes undetected for some time, it may cause other coolant hoses to start leaking as well. If that happens, you may notice a pool of coolant beneath your vehicle while it’s parked.


Anytime you detect a coolant leak, you need to visit an auto mechanic at your earliest convenience. Your vehicle requires a certain amount of coolant to operate properly, and if it doesn’t have enough, the engine can suffer damage.


Sudden Temperature Change Inside Your Vehicle

If you’re driving along with the a/c cranked up and you suddenly notice warm air blowing out of the vents, a faulty thermostat is probably to blame. The same idea applies to a heater that suddenly starts blowing cold air. An auto mechanic can diagnose this issue quickly and perform the appropriate repairs or component replacements to get the cooling system back on track.


Need a Reputable Auto Mechanic in the Twin Cities? AA Auto Tech Is At Your Service

If you’re worried your vehicle’s thermostat is on its way out, come visit our team at AA Auto Tech in Hastings so we can diagnose your ride. If you do have a thermostat issue, our ASE-certified mechanics can replace the faulty component and get your vehicle back on the road safely. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today at 651-437-2218 or contact us online, and we’ll get in touch!